One of the main issues that entrepreneurs or new start-ups, that operate an e-commerce site, face is how to increase the organic traffic to their online store. The use of SEO tactics in this regard is the go-to method but not everyone is knowledgeable in the area and even fewer are they good at implementing such strategies. The different methods are so interconnected as well that you can easily negatively affect one when trying to improve another. So there needs to be an experienced hand controlling everything if you are to get solid results.
Search engine traffic or organic traffic can usually spell either success or failure of an online store. Since it’s free, it’s always a great idea to take full advantage and try to top their rankings. There have been plenty of billion-dollar e-commerce success stories because the companies were able to optimize their online stores for search engine rankings from early on.
For e-commerce sites the organic SEO process is a bit more complicated, given the unique structure of their websites and the way they operate. On top of the typical SEO strategies such as posting good content & running a targeted social media campaign, there are some unique tactics that e-commerce sites need to utilize in order to increase organic traffic, which will lead to more sales and business growth.
You can find below our main recommendations for the SEO tactics that you can use for your e-commerce store:
Optimize Your Site Loading Time:
If your website is slow to load it can negatively affect your SEO rankings as much as the user experience. Content such as high-resolution images might make your site look great but if it puts too much overhead on the website loading time that will end up hurting you more than it will help. This is not to say use cheap low-quality images on your website, but to optimize the images that you use so that you can strike a good balance between image quality and your site loading times.
Make sure to implement an image zoom option that will only load a smaller low-resolution image when the webpage loads but open a higher-resolution image when the customer clicks on it.
Have an Easy to Use Website Structure
Having a website that is easy to navigate is essential for ranking highly in Search Engines as well as increasing the user experience of your customers. Make sure that your sitemap is as simple as possible and easy to follow. This makes it easy for your customers to find exactly what they want.
Make sure you plan the order of how your products will be categorized and divided beforehand. Separate them as intuitively and into easily understandable sections as much as possible. This will make it easy for your customers as well as search engines to navigate your website.
Having Unique Product Descriptions:
Some of the common mistakes that we do when inserting content into an e-commerce website is to copy & paste the manufacturer’s product description directly into your site’s product description or use the same description for similar products, because it is just easy to do. But the best way to go about this is to use a unique description for each product on your website.
This may look like an unnecessary burden but when you have redundant data on your website that can affect the SEO rankings of your website in a negative way. Always remember that unique content is always better than having redundant content when it comes to any website.
Encourage User Product Reviews:
This is actually connected to the earlier point that we discussed as well. When running an e-commerce site you must always encourage your uses to post reviews on every product page. This ensures that great original & unique content gets added to each product page. As we mentioned earlier, search engines love unique content and when you have an opportunity to get free original content from your user base you grab it with both hands. The added benefit of having this feature is that you can communicate with your customers and provide feedback on the products that you sell.
Good Link Building Practices:
When it comes to SEO strategy, link building is high on the priority list. When you have a good solid link from a reputed, highly visited site, it can be a gold mine when it comes to search rankings. Important to remember that search engines rank quality over quantity; so more cheap links do not become more valuable than a few important ones.
Better links mean better leads that lend themselves to increased sales and revenue from your online store. Be careful that the links are from sites that are useful to your customers otherwise it might lead to search engine penalties against your site.
Having Social Media Integration and Share Buttons:
Having Social Media integration is imperative nowadays to run a healthy e-commerce website. This is not just about having social media accounts for your store/company, but you must have social share buttons for each of your product pages. This will enable your customers to share individual products and their opinions about said products with their social circles. Since search engines are using social signals more and more to gauge page/domain authority, this practice increases your SEO standing as well as being a very effective marketing strategy.
Make Your Site Fully Responsive:
In this day and age where people use a countless number of devices, with varying screen sizes, to browse the internet it is imperative that your website loads nicely on each of them. This becomes even more important for an e-commerce website because it has a more complex sitemap to navigate through.
You must implement a smooth & easy to use responsive user interface in order to give your customers the best user experience possible. We have seen that increasingly search engines give extra weight to the responsive aspect of your website, especially with the mobile-first approach.
Use Strategic Internal Linking:
Linking relevant internal pages to each other can do marvels for your website’s SEO outlook in the long run.
Internal linking adds value to your website since users find this feature very helpful when it comes to shopping for products. This reduces navigation and searching times and leaves customers with more time, to choose the item they prefer the best from a collection of similar items. Such linking will also lead to a better link profile that will enhance your SEO outlook as well.
Adding a Community Forum:
Adding a community forum has a number of benefits to your e-commerce website. Mainly, this enables your e-commerce platform to get more traffic and more links. Within a forum your customers can communicate and discuss your products, their features & pricing and offer opinions & suggestions to each other. Engaging in these conversations as official customer support personnel will go a long way to increase your customer loyalty & brand value as well. This sort of back and forth will create lots of traffic as well as linking that will greatly improve your SE rankings.
Have Product Videos & Images:
Because of increased audiovisual content included, e-commerce websites are increasing their customer base day by day. This is a huge achievement because we humans are more inclined to purchase products that we can touch and feel. So when you are creating your website make sure to upload videos and imagery showcasing the product in different angles. Make sure to add legible & coherent alt tags describing the products to the images so that they can show up on organic searches.
Use an SSL Certificate for Site Security:
E-commerce websites are a favorite target of hackers who are looking to steal credit card details and other confidential details of customers. The best course against this is to add an SSL certificate that will give your website an HTTPS encryption. This will add an extra protective layer encapsulating your customers’ sensitive details from outside eavesdroppers. This will go a long way in protecting your e-commerce store from fraudulent activities such as theft & hacking.
Utilizing Seasonal Products:
Because they are in demand less regularly and have lower keyword competition online, using seasonal products to gain more traffic to your website is a really smart move. Creating a new product category such as “Spring Collection” or “Christmas Gifts” will be able to grab the attention of your customers as well as search results.
Have Unique URLs Matching Product Titles:
Make sure that you have a keyword-optimized page title for each product and make sure that your page URL matches that page title. We know it is easier to use automated product page URLs; Ones that end such as /9809787678. But these can be very detrimental to your SEO setup. So instead use coherent product page titles & URLs. Eg: If you are selling Red Cocktail Dresses use an URL that ends like /red-cocktail-dress-small.
Always Check for Page Errors:
A 404 error happens when you have a broken page or erroneous link on your website. This problem is more prevalent in e-commerce sites because of the large number of pages involved. Consumer confidence in your website will go downhill hard when they encounter 404 errors. The solution to this to do regular audits on your website health, capture these errors and route them out quickly. You can use tools such as Google Search Console or Screaming Frog site crawler for this operation.
Add Keyword Infused Meta Descriptions for Product Pages:
Meta Descriptions are very important to search engine results because they are what show up right underneath the page hyperlink in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS). So it is very important to write a good description of the product that includes keywords as the Meta Description. This enables potential customers to better understand what you are offering and enter your website for a purchase.
Integrate an Internal Search Function into The Website:
There are numerous advantages of having an internal search on your e-commerce website. Having a good site navigation scheme is great but having a good internal search will go a long way in converting your potential customers into actual ones. By giving the best and most relevant product results to customers who utilize the search, this will go a long way in increasing your customer goodwill. Make sure that you keep optimizing this feature from time to time.
User experience is the most important thing when it comes to e-commerce websites. A good user experience makes it possible for your customers to find the best products and services that you offer and to make informed decisions about purchasing them. A good e-commerce website will prompt customers to come back again & again for their requirements.
A good SEO strategy goes hand in hand with user experience; from the moment the user first searches for something on a search engine, to noticing your store in the search engine results, to entering and selecting a product from your store and purchasing it, to keep coming back again to see what else is available. Bit by bit loyal customers will emerge who will be with your store for years to come.
E-commerce website face bigger and unique challenges when it comes to implementing SEO strategies; but with the methods mentioned above and some hard work, dedication and periodic reviews you will be able to have a smooth-running e-commerce store that will continue to gain more traffic, more sales, and more loyal customers as time goes by.